Category: Knowledge

The Golden Thread in Ongoing Fire Protection

The term ‘Golden Thread’ refers to a structured and organised approach to fire safety information, documentation, and responsibilities throughout the lifecycle of a building or property - and it's particularly important when it comes to fire rated glazing products.

The concept of the Golden Thread is intended to ensure that critical fire safety information is consistently and accurately captured, communicated and maintained, and is readily available during the design, manufacture and installation process – and then provide clarity during the entire life cycle of the product.

It includes all elements of fire protection and structural elements of a building, including fire rated glazing products such as doors and windows, and addresses the safety of anyone inside, or in the vicinity of the building in the event of a fire.

Why has it been introduced?

Evolving the requirements to hand over information as required under Regulation 38, this is the output of collaboration between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with support from the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) golden thread working group, and key stakeholders from across the built environment sector. It has been designed to be a ‘single source of truth’, recording any changes (and details) along with the reason for the change, the decision-making process and the competence of those involved. It is hoped that this will reduce confusion, drive improved accountability, responsibility and an improved working culture.

One of the key elements of the Golden Thread is that the information is to be held digitally. Digitising the process helps ensure that there is no danger that important paperwork – the very information that helps keep you safe from liabilities should the worst happen – can be lost, damaged or fail to be provided at all.

The Golden Thread pathway

Essential Components - Fire Rated DoorsApplicable to both new build projects and refurbishment programmes, the journey to identifying requirements, procuring, installing and maintaining products is well documented.

Starting with the requirements of the Building Act, you will then need to understand the Building Regulations covering your project. These vary, depending on the type of project you are working on.

Approved Document B offers a set of prescriptive guidelines outlining fire safety precautions for buildings in England. A fire engineer may be able to offer you an alternative, risk based approach in line with BS 9999 (or BS 9991), a code of practice on the provision of measures to control or mitigate the effects of fire.

A clearer picture

Once you have a vision in mind of your requirement, you can engage a specifier – an architect, fire engineer or Fire Risk Assessor – who can then help specify the best product to fit your needs. With fire rated double glazing, there are some very restrictive parameters, so engaging with an expert to identify the correct product is key.

At this point, your specifier will help you engage with a supplier, like OWS Fire Rated, who are best placed to offer a solution based on the needs of your project.

Long-term relationships with systems suppliers such as Aluprof and Reynaers for aluminium framing systems has allowed us to develop a wide product range to cover a broad spectrum of requirements.

Reliably tested

All solutions have been subject to extensive testing, and many can offer third party certification throughout the process to demonstrate manufacturing consistency against tested examples. The Golden Thread allows these documents to be available to our customers from the very start of the OWS Fire Rated specification process.

Products are installed by our highly-trained fitting teams. They undertake an installation audit which (when satisfactorily completed) is signed-off by a FIRAS supervisor. All such information will be digitalised and made available to you, so you can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that that the OWS Fire Rated product you have chosen is safe, secure and fit for purpose – and there’s easily accessible evidence to prove it.

Managing fire rated glazing maintenance

As well as providing comfort to the buildings users, the Golden Thread is also a useful tool for keeping your budgets in check. With a clear view of a product’s life cycle, it is easier for you to manage maintenance requirements, and ensure that ongoing product upkeep is scheduled and the viability of an existing product is maintained.

Without this information, it is often the case that the safest option is to simply replace a fire rated product after a period of use – after all, if you can’t guarantee that proper maintenance has been carried out, with such a safety critical piece of equipment, you cannot take the risk that the product would not perform as expected in the event of a fire.

What should be available?

With a clear vision for an easy auditing, the Golden Thread has made organising and communicating your fire safety documentation simpler.

It is important for you to ensure that the correct information is readily available, and there are no gaps in the details. Covering far more than just details of the product installed, the Golden Thread seeks to capture and maintain records concerning:

  • Design information: This includes any architectural or engineering drawings and specifications that detail any fire safety features and systems in the building.
  • Construction documentation: Including records of inspections, materials used, and compliance with fire safety regulations.
  • Compliance evidence: Any evidence that highlights how the building, and any fire safety components within it – such as fire rated glazing products – comply with relevant fire safety regulations, and any evidence documenting any exceptions.
  • Strategies: Information about the overall fire safety strategies for the building, including evacuation plans, fire safety management procedures, and fire risk assessments.
  • Maintenance records: Records of maintenance and testing of fire safety systems and equipment.
  • Occupancy information: Details about how the building is used and occupied. It is important to adjust this over time if it changes.
  • Responsible people: Identification of anyone who has responsibility for aspects of fire safety, their roles and responsibilities.
  • Incident records: Documentation of any incidents, near misses, or false alarms. Attention should also be paid to lessons learned and actions taken for future prevention.
  • Training and education: Information related to fire safety training.

It is important that this information is kept up-to-date and correct, so that it can provide you with reliable guidance as to ongoing safety.

How do OWS Fire Rated comply?

Here at OWS Fire Rated, we are passionate about surpassing expected standards when it comes to safety and we support the belief that the Golden Thread is key to helping ensure the safety of the built environment for all.

Although legislation currently only applies the Golden Thread to residential buildings standing 18 metres high, or over seven storeys, at OWS Fire Rated we believe that all projects are equally important.

We apply the same rigorous level of third-party certified production control and impeccable record keeping for every project and believe that every client should benefit from our ‘Transparent Working’ process. This digital record trail is key to a safer, easier-to-maintain built environment.

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